Entertainment Weekend: Minneapolis Needs A New NBA Arena

The arena just doesn’t have revenue generating gadgets.

The “We Need A New Arena Or Stadium Tour” is about to set up shop in Minneapolis where one of the owners of the National Basketball Association’s Minnesota Timberwolves, Alex Rodriguez, has made mention that the Timberwolves business needs a new arena. That generally is where the stadium or arena game starts with an owner sounding innocently enough saying the building is outdated.  Rodriguez and his group purchased the franchise from Glen Taylor last year. Taylor stepped in following the 1994 season to buy the Timberwolves business from Harvey Ratner and Marv Wolfenson after the NBA blocked a sale of the team to New Orleans investors that included boxing promoter Bob Arum. Ratner and Wolfenson ran into financial problems paying for an expansion franchise and sinking money into the construction of a Minneapolis arena.

When the NBA expanded in the late 1980s, it awarded the franchise to Ratner and Wolfenson who paid about $32 million for the team. But the  two men also decided to build an arena without public assistance. The arena was supposed to cost about $70 million. It ended up costing more than $100 million. In 1992, the pair concluded that they could not afford the cost of an arena and expansion team and wanted Minnesota politicians to take over the building. In 1995, the City of Minneapolis took over the building. The Twin-Cities have a long history of municipal sports venue spending. Taking a cue from Milwaukee politicians who in 1950 authorized spending for a baseball stadium to attract a Major League team. Local politicians spent money on a stadium, then an arena. The stadium was replaced in 1982 with a publicly funded domed stadium. Public money has since been spent on a baseball stadium, two football stadiums and one arena in the area. It’s arena game on in Minneapolis.

FILE – Alex Rodriguez (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

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